In January 1847, President Brigham Young received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 136 at Winter Quarters, Nebraska. This lesson covers Doctrine and Covenants 136:19–42, which includes the Lord’s counsel to the Saints about how to act on their journey, offers them reassurance, and directs them to keep all of God’s commandments.
Think of an opportunity you have had to interact with other people in a group. What were some positive aspects of working with others in that group?
When the Saints were forced to leave Nauvoo in early 1846 and began traveling west, many were unprepared for the journey. The Saints were initially spread out over many miles, which diminished their ability to help one another. In a revelation President Brigham Young received at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, about one year later, the Lord instructed the Saints to organize themselves so they could help one another as they continued their journey.
Review Doctrine and Covenants 136:2, 8–10, looking for the Lord’s instructions on how the Saints were to help one another.
Although working in groups allows us to help one another, it can also create challenges. Ponder about some of the challenges that can occur when working in groups.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 136:19–27, looking for the Lord’s counsel for the Saints as they traveled and worked together.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal.
What counsel did you read that would help the Saints travel and work together?
Why do you think this counsel would be helpful?
How can you apply this counsel as you interact and work with other people?
Review verses 23–24. Note that the Lord counseled the Saints to “cease drunkenness” (D&C 136:24) even though this revelation came after the Saints had received the Word of Wisdom. The Saints progressed gradually in their observance of the Word of Wisdom. When the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 136 was given, the Latter-day Saints were not prohibited from consuming all alcoholic drinks as we are today.
According to Doctrine and Covenants 136:24, what should our words do for those around us? To answer this question, complete the following principle: Our words should . Consider marking the phrase that teaches this principle in your scriptures.
It may be helpful to know that to edify means to build someone up spiritually or emotionally.
Complete the following assignments in your scripture study journal:
Answer the following question: Why do you think it would be important for the Saints to use edifying words as they traveled together?
Describe an experience when you heard someone use words that edified another person.
Consider things you can say that will edify those around you.
As you read the following accounts of the Saints’s experiences as they began their journeys westward, think about how you might have felt and why these faithful Saints would have been willing to go through such trials:
Mary Ann Weston Maughan wrote: “We were called to bury two of our company who died this morning of cholera, a man named Brown and a child. There are more sick in camp. Have been in sight of the Platte River all day. Traveled 15 miles, camped on Salt Creek. Soon some of our company came up with another child dead. They buried it at twilight on the bank of the creek. There are more sick. It makes us feel sad thus to bury our friends by the way. Weather very hot” (Mary Ann Weston Maughan journal, 3 vols., June 21, 1850, 2:1, Family History Library, Salt Lake City; spelling, capitalization, and punctuation modernized).
Clarissa Young Spencer (Brigham Young’s daughter) wrote: “One of Father’s most outstanding qualities as a leader was the manner in which he looked after the temporal and social welfare of his people along with guiding them in their spiritual needs. On the great trek across the plains when everyone but the most feeble walked the greater part of the way, the Saints would be gathered around the campfire for evening entertainment, if the weather was at all favorable. There songs would be sung, music played by the fiddlers, and the men and women would forget the weariness of walking fifteen miles or so over a trackless desert while they joined in dancing the quadrille. It was his way of keeping up ‘morale’ before such a word was ever coined” (with Mabel Harmer, One Who Was Valiant , 162).
Based on these accounts, how would you describe the experience of some of the Latter-day Saint pioneers?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 136:28–29, looking for the counsel contained in these verses. Then, in your scripture study journal, write one principle describing what we should do when we are happy and one principle describing what we should do when we are sorrowful.
Think about times when Heavenly Father has answered your prayers by helping you be happy. Consider sharing an experience with a family member or friend.
Remember to praise and thank the Lord when you are happy and to pray for help when you are sorrowful.
The Saints had endured great trials, and they knew their continuing journey to the West would also be a great challenge.
What do you think helped the Saints remain faithful even under such difficult circumstances?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 136:30–40, looking for doctrines and principles that might have encouraged the Saints.
You might identify some of the following doctrines and principles:
We should not fear our enemies, because they are in the Lord’s hands.
Our trials can prepare us to receive the glory God has for us.
If we humble ourselves and call upon God, then the Spirit will enlighten us.
If we are faithful in keeping all the words that the Lord has given us, we will one day behold His glory.
The Lord gives us His word through His prophets.
The Lord can deliver us from our enemies.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How do you think these doctrines and principles helped the Saints remain faithful?
How can these doctrines and principles help you remain faithful during your own difficult experiences?
Consider the overall message you think the Saints may have learned from the Lord’s words in Doctrine and Covenants 136:30–40.
Although you identified a variety of doctrines and principles in these verses, the Lord was providing assurance to the Saints that things would work out.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 136:41–42, looking for further reassurance and counsel from the Lord.
Use what you learned from the Lord’s counsel in verse 42 to complete the following principle: If we are diligent , then the Lord’s judgments will not come upon us, our faith will be strong, and our enemies ultimately will not triumph over us.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How can this principle help you?
The Saints obeyed the Lord’s commands. The first group of pioneers left Winter Quarters on April 5, 1847. They traveled more than 1,000 miles and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in late July 1847. On July 24, 1847, as President Brigham Young overlooked the Salt Lake Valley, he received spiritual confirmation that the Saints had found their new home. He was riding in the back of Wilford Woodruff’s wagon at the time because he was sick with a fever.
President Wilford Woodruff gave the following account of President Young viewing the Salt Lake Valley: “When we came … into full view of the valley, I turned the side of my carriage around, open to the west, and President Young arose from his bed and took a survey of the country. While gazing upon the scene before us, he was enwrapped in vision for several minutes. He had seen the valley before in vision, and upon this occasion he saw the future glory of Zion and of Israel. … When the vision had passed, he said, ‘It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on.’ So I drove to the encampment already formed by those who had come along in advance of us” (Teaching of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff , 146).
Why would it have been important for President Brigham Young and the Saints to receive confirmation that the Salt Lake Valley was the right place to settle? Why would it be important for you to have the assurance that you are doing what the Lord wants you to do?
Strive to keep all the commandments, and listen for the Lord’s assurance in your life.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 136:19–42 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: